CSEAS, the Residential College, and The School of Music, Theater, and Dance welcomed Anon Suneko to campus this semester. Susan Walton, Director of the U-M Gamelan Ensemble and lecturer at the Residential College, brought Anon to campus with the support of CSEAS for the Winter 2013 semester. He comes to us from Yogyakarta, where he received his BA in gamelan music in 2006 and his MA in Indonesian music in 2011. He is a dancer and a musician, and here he taught both dance and gamelan.
Anon’s specialty is kendhang (drum), arguably to most difficult gamelan instrument and the lead instrument of the ensemble. He has won top prizes in major Indonesian competitions in Jakarta and Yogyakarta for best kendhang player (2011, 2010, 2005, 1995) and best music director (2011, 2009, 2005). He has performed all over the world, from Australia to Europe to East Asia and India. Anon has been the music director of many dance performances, including sendratari, wayang wong, and other traditional forms of Javanese dance. As music director, he has composed many new pieces and arranged traditional ones.
Anon performed, with his students and the U-M Gamelan Ensemble, on March 26 at Hill Auditorium, to a packed house. In addition to this public performance, he taught gamelan music at Mitchell Elementary School, where the kids were eager to try their hands at the music of Java.
2004-2005: Matheus Wasi Bantolo and Olivia Retno Widyastuti
2005: Didik Nini Thowok, Master Dancer
F.X. Widaryanto, a rare hybrid among Javanese performing artists, is a famous choreographer, an accomplished gamelan musician, a scholar and a university administrator. Currently the director of Masyarakat Seni Pertunjukan Indonesia, Indonesia's first academic society for the performing arts, he is assistant director at STSI Bandung, a key conservatory of Indonesian music and dance. He holds two national governmental positions. He earned his Master of Arts degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and has published six books on choreography and dance aesthetics and scores of articles, book chapters, and working papers. He has received grants from the Toyota Foundation (2000), the Japan Foundation (1994), the International Institute of the University of Michigan (1995), and Fulbright (1980). This year, he is teaching gamelan and dance classes at UM and will put on a dance drama based on the pan-Islamic Amir Hamzah story, accompanied by gamelan on March 27, 2011.
Mas Sigit and Mbak Yulisa spent two years at U-M, teaching, performing, and sharing what they know of Javanese traditional and contemporary dance. They collaborated in two major performances as well as teaching local elementary school students Javanese dance and puppetry.
Didik Nini Thowok came to U-M to perform at the Asian Artists Respond: Indian Ocean Tsunami Relief concert in January of 2005. Mas Didik is an extraodinary dancer as well as choreographer, comedian, and entertainer. His range includes classical, folk, modern, and comedic dance form. His skill at both masked dancing as well as cross-gender dancing elevate both of these Indonesian traditions. For more on Didik Nini Thowok, see his TEDx performance.